Lai, Yunru

Public Health

MHS/MA

South Africa

South Africa - Comprehensive HIV Prevention Package for MSM in Southern Africa

The overarching aim of this program funded by a NIH R01 through the MP3 mechanisms is to develop an optimized combination package of HIV prevention interventions and services (CPHI) for men who have sex with men (MSM) in southern Africa, to develop preliminary data about the acceptability of the candidate package, and to develop a rational proposal for a subsequent efficacy trial of the prevention package. The rationale for this study is simple: virtually no work, in either research or program, has focused on HIV preventive interventions for MSM in the southern African region–despite emerging evidence that a severe epidemic of HIV is underway among these men. Communities of MSM are beginning to emerge in southern Africa and they are doing so in the context of the world's most advanced and generalized epidemic of HIV. The understanding of these men, their socialand sexual lives, and the multiple vulnerabilities and risks associated with their sexual behaviors in theAfrican context has just begun to be investigated. Indeed, the very existence of these men and theirnetworks remains a contentious issue in several African States. African MSM remain among the mosthidden and stigmatized groups at risk in the global HIV epidemic, and one for whom optimized preventionpackages, fit to challenging local environments, are an urgent public health and research priority. Ourgroup has conducted the first epidemiologic studies of MSM in Malawi, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho andthe first such studies among African and Colored MSM communities in peri-urban Cape Town. Thesestudies have yielded expertise in how to safely conduct HIV research in these challenging environments,and have demonstrated the primacy of partnership with MSM and LGBT community organizations in thesuccessful conduct of this critically needed research. This application is the next step in an effort todevelop, implement and evaluate HIV preventive services for African MSM. We have brought togethercommunity groups, two U.S. academic partners with long track records of research and research training inthe two target country of South Africa and the modeling expertise of Professor Ron Brookmeyer, who has long been in a leader in the use of statistical approaches to exploring the complex challenges of HIV.

Global Health Mentor: Stefan Baral, MD
Director, Key Populations Program

 

1) Penguin on the beach - Boulder's Beach, Cape Town

2) Excellent view from Chapman's Peak - Cape Town

3) ARVs every day, keep HIV away - Durban

4) LGBTQ-friendly clinic in the community - Durban

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March 2021

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